Kayaking Glover’s Reef Atoll
Lying like a string of white-sand pearls, Glover’s Reef Atoll consists of half a dozen small islands surrounded by blue sea as far as the eye can see. Its unique position, atop a submerged mountain ridge on the edge of the continental shelf makes it an ideal place for sea kayaking, both between the islands and around the shallow central lagoon. Get a kayak with a clear bottom and you’re likely to see spotted eagle rays, southern stingrays, turtles and countless tropical fish swimming beneath as you paddle.
Diving the Blue Hole
The sheer walls of the Blue Hole Natural Monument drop more than 400ft into the ocean. Although it is half filled with silt and natural debris, the depth still creates a perfect circle of startling azure that is visible from above. The wall of the Blue Hole is decorated with a dense forest of stalactites and stalagmites from times past. A school of reef sharks – as well as plenty of sponges and invertebrates –keeps divers company as they descend into the mysterious ocean depths.
Snorkeling Shark Ray Alley
Local fisherfolk used to come to Shark Ray Alley to clean their catch, and their discards would attract hungry nurse sharks and southern stingrays. As a result these predators have long become accustomed to boats, which nowadays bring snorkelers instead of fishers. Shark Ray Alley is the top snorkeling destination in Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a protected part of the Belize Barrier Reef that harbors an amazing diversity of colorful coral and other marine life.
Abrisk breeze is almost always blowing (especially between January and June), creating optimal conditions to cruise across the water on sailboat, windsurfer or kiteboard. The world’s second-largest barrier reef is just a few miles off shore, beckoning snorkelers and divers to frolic with the fish. The mangroves teem with life, inviting exploration by kayak. All these adventures await, yet the number-one activity on Caye Caulker is still swinging in a hammock, reading a book and sipping a fresh-squeezed fruit juice. Paradise.
The Hummingbird Highway
Arguably Belize’s most beautiful stretch of road, the Hummingbird Highway offers unparalleled views of the Maya Mountains as it winds through jungles, orchards and tiny villages. Heading southeast from Belmopan, the highway stretches 49 miles (79km) to the junction of the Southern Highway and the turnoff to Dangriga. It also offers plenty of reasons to stop for a few hours (besides a near constant procession of postcard-perfect vistas).
Explore St Herman’s Cave, hike the jungle loop trail, or have a dip in the crystal-clear Blue Hole. If you prefer showering with a view, the Barquedier Waterfall is down the road.
Halfway between the hustle of Dangriga and the tourist vibe of Placencia lies slacked-out Hopkins, a low-key Garifuna town where life hasn’t changed much in decades. Children walk the town’s one street selling their mothers’ freshly baked coconut pies and chocolate brownies; local men catch fish by day and play drums at night; and the pace of life is pleasantly slow. Best of all is the beach, which is as pretty as any in Southern Belize, but it is never crowded.